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Tate Modern and Hyundai Motor Announce El Anatsui as Next Hyundai Commission Artist

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*Featured photo: El Anatsui, Three sightings, 2021 Aluminium and copper wire, 280 x 807 cm © El Anatsui Courtesy the Artist and October Gallery, London Photo © Jonathan Greet

Tate Modern and Hyundai Motor announce that El Anatsui will create the next annual Hyundai Commission. One of the most distinctive artists working today, El Anatsui is best-known for his cascading metallic sculptures constructed of thousands of recycled bottle-tops articulated with copper wire. Repurposing found materials into dazzling works of abstract art, Anatsui’s work explores themes that include the environment, consumption and trade. His site-specific work for the Turbine Hall will be open to the public from 10 October 2023 – 14 April 2024.

El Anatsui, Kindred Viewpoints, 2016 Aluminium and copper wire, 1680 x 2140 cm Image courtesy Marrakech Biennale 6, NOT NEW NOW Photo © Jens Martin

Anatsui was born in Anyako, Ghana in 1944 and has spent most of his career in Nigeria. Over a long-lasting and distinguished career as both artist and educator – serving as Professor of Sculpture and Departmental Head at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka – Anatsui has developed a highly experimental approach to sculpture, embracing a wide range of forms and materials including wood, ceramics and found objects. He has experimented with liquor bottle tops since the late 90s and continues to push the medium’s boundaries in novel ways, creating radical, transformative sculptures which assume new shapes with every installation. Interested in the changing histories of the objects he repurposes into shimmering sculptures, Anatsui fuses specific local aesthetic traditions with the global history of abstraction. In 2015, Anatsui was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 56th International Art Exhibition of the Biennale di Venezia and his work is held in major collections around the world.

El Anatsui, In the World But Don't Know the World? (detail), 2009 Aluminium and copper wire, 1000 x 560 cm © El Anatsui Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Kunstmuseum Bern Courtesy the Artist and October Gallery, London Photo © Jonathan Greet

Frances Morris, direttore della Tate Modern, ha dichiarato: El Anatsui è responsabile di alcune delle sculture più uniche e indimenticabili degli ultimi tempi e siamo lieti che si occupi della Turbine Hall quest’autunno per l’annuale Hyundai Commission. L’apprezzatissimo Ink Splash II 2012 di Anatsui, presente nella collezione della Tate, incanta i visitatori ovunque venga esposto e non vediamo l’ora di constatare come questo inventivo artista si approccerà a uno spazio come la Turbine Hall”.

DooEun Choi, direttore artistico di Hyundai Motor Company, ha dichiarato: “Le opere di El Anatsui si distinguono per la sua dedizione all’esplorazione del potenziale trasformativo dell’arte e per la sua attenzione alle storie. Non vediamo l’ora di vedere come El Anatsui trasformerà la Turbine Hall della Tate Modern per l’ottava Commissione Hyundai”.

El Anatsui, Skylines?, 2008 Aluminium and copper wire, 300 x 825 cm © El Anatsui Private Collection Courtesy the Artist and October Gallery, London Photo © Jonathan Greet

Since Tate Modern opened in 2000, the Turbine Hall has hosted some of the world’s most memorable and acclaimed works of contemporary art, reaching an audience of millions each year. The way artists have interpreted this vast industrial space has revolutionised public perceptions of contemporary art in the twenty-first century. The annual Hyundai Commission gives artists an opportunity to create new work for this unique context. The commissions are made possible by the long-term partnership between Tate and Hyundai Motor, confirmed until 2026 as part of the longest initial commitment from a corporate partner in Tate’s history.

Hyundai Commission: El Anatsui is curated by Osei Bonsu, Curator, International Art, and Dina Akhmadeeva, Assistant Curator, International Art, Tate Modern and will be accompanied by a new book from Tate Publishing.